Colin was born on April 20, 2009 at 2:44 pm weighing 6 lbs. 4 oz. and 20 inches long. At around 2 am on the 20th, my contractions started to become closer together at approximately 5 minutes apart. I didn't want to jump the gun, and they weren't too painful, so I started watching TV for about an hour, growing increasingly more excited with the thoughts that this was the real deal. After an hour, I decided to shower to get myself ready and then woke up my husband with the news that I was in labor! We called the doctor and she said to take our time, but to head over to the hospital. We took some pictures, stopped for coffee, and arrived at the hospital just before 6am.
The first couple hours of labor were tolerable and we filled our time with laps of the maternity ward and TV. Around noon I finally was able to get the epidural, which lasted only an hour, and then things started to progress pretty rapidly. We were a little nervous because after the epidural, Colin's heart rate kept dropping and the doctor felt that he may have been pinching on his umbilical cord depending on the position I was in. Had he not arrived as quickly as he did, I would have had to have a c-section (which is not something I wanted to happen).
Colin's birth was very emotional as we heard his first cries and got to see him for the first time. Those feelings are indescribable to have your husband standing by your side and to finally see the little baby that you created together.
About 5 minutes after Colin was born, his pediatrician came to talk to us because she wanted to inform us that she was testing him for Down Syndrome based on some "traits" that she found during his initial evaluation. One of the traits that she told us she saw was a flat palmar crease on one or both of his hands. In that moment the elation that we felt was trumped by the shock of the news we were just told. I couldn't even cry at that moment because I was completely taken aback. The doctor informed us that it would take about a week for the testing to come back.
That whole week was torturous for us. The first few days of his life, Colin spent in the special care nursery because he was having trouble eating and he could not regulate his temperature (which I later found out were common occurances for babies with Down Syndrome). WWe were so excited when he started eating more and was healthy enough to go home only one day later than he was supposed to.
Unfortunately, while we were waiting for the results to come back, we were scrutinizing our own child trying to see if we could see the things the doctor had seen. One feature that was mentioned to me was the slight slant in his eyes, but I kept thinking that it was just because his face was so swollen from the delivery and that they would become "normal". I found myself breaking down a lot on the down time between visitors. I just couldn't imagine what life would be like having a child with "special needs".
The news came on Colin's 1 week birthday when the pediatrician returned my phone call over other information I had to provide her with. She told me she wanted to see us at the end of the week to weigh him, but also, because she had the results of the test and she wanted to talk to us about them. In that moment I knew that he had it, but I asked her to give the results over the phone. When she told me that the diagnosis was confirmed, I immediately felt like I had been punched in the stomach. For the next few hours, we didn't know what to do with ourselves but to cry. I couldn't help but feel disappointed and most especially scared. My thoughts immediately went to stereotypes about it and what the future would hold for my little boy. Would he go to college? Get a job? Fall in love and marry?
Our friends and family immediately rallied around us and Colin and reminded us that he was brought into our lives for a specific purpose. We have realized that a lot of what we have felt is common when facing the unknown and many people say it is a grieving process for the child you thought you were going to have. I know the road ahead is not going to be easy, and we will have many challenging days ahead, as will Colin, but he is our little boy and we couldn't love him more. We have put on our gloves and stepped into the ring...